back to article What's the difference between GEEKS and NERDS?

A data scientist says he has settled one of the most pressing conundra of the digital age. He has discovered the difference between geeks and nerds. Burr Settles, software chap at crowdsourced translation platform Duolingo, rooted through millions of tweets to find the sorts of words that were used at the same time as either …

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Anonymous Coward

Okay, that means I fall under the category of "Nerd Geek" :)

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Anonymous Coward

A Nerd is someone who is socially inadequate and not the sharpest tool in the box who you'd avoid.

A Geek is one of the sharpest tools in the box, you'd let him sort out a problem, is more socially aware, you'd tolerate but avoid because his intelligence make you look stupid under some circumstances. No one like being with the class swot.

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Happy

Me too... we need a new designation!

Neek or Gerd?

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@Anonymous Coward

Wrong way around my friend - a Nerd is a Geek with a high IQ. You don't have to be clever to be a geek (a trip to any games/comic con or star trek conference will demonstrate that) but you need smarts to be a nerd. Nerds are problem solvers, geeks are just fanboys under a different name.

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Headmaster

Re: Neek or Gerd?

Gnerk

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Need a Gerk?

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I thought this had been settled years ago:

The difference between, geek, nerd & dork Venn Diagram

Or, for you XKCD fans..

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Anonymous Coward

@A Non e-mouse

In the first Venn diagram Dork should be replaced by Stalker

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And the difference between geek, nerd, dork and XKCD fan Venn Diagram?

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The Venn diagram is pretty much inclusive, IMO.

There might be a few small lobes sticking out the edges, though ... Most show symptoms of Asperger's ... I hire them wherever possible in technical roles. Good folks to have around, on-time, trustworthy, and only jump into a project if they actually know what they are doing. With a little cajoling, they can usually be persuaded to admit that "I don't know, can you show me?" (or words to that affect) ... It's a trust thing in people like this, at least in my perspective and experience :-)

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Headmaster

...or words to that EFFECT...

Sigh.

Affect - the verb - this will affect you.

Effect - the noun - this will have an effect on you.

(Does that make me a geek, a nerd, or just a pedantic git?)

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Joke

Re: ...or words to that EFFECT...

Nah, a frustrated English teacher, which is a whole different Venn diagram ;)

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Pint

@Martin (was: Re: ...or words to that EFFECT...)

Martin, when people speak the words "I don't know, show me" in my hearing, said words have a positive affect on them. I teach them when I can, and if I can't, I find someone who can. Re-read mine in that context.

Was mine improper written/typoed English? Perhaps. Improper use of the language? Not so much. English is wonderfully flexible that way.

I'll purchase the next round if we can agree to disagree :-)

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Pint

Re: @Martin (was: ...or words to that EFFECT...)

I'll always accept a beer!

As egregious errors go, I admit that effect/affect doesn't bother me half as much as, say, loose/lose or there/their/they're. I can see effect/affect becoming interchangeable in the future - but loose and lose will never be, so long as I have breath to moan about it.

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Re: @Martin (was: ...or words to that EFFECT...)

Relax Martin. There's no need to loose sleep over this sort of thing.

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Pint

@frank ly (was: Re: @Martin (was: ...or words to that EFFECT...))

He's not loosing any sleep, frank ly. He's having a pint.

Can I get one in for you, too?

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Happy

Re: ...or words to that EFFECT...

I will see your pedantry, and raise you more pedantry.

http://xkcd.com/326/

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Coat

Re: ...or words to that EFFECT...

If you noted that 'affect' is both a noun and a verb, as is 'effect' then you could have qualified as all three perhaps...

As it stands you're an 'honorary mention'...

I'll get my affects and effect a swift departure henceforth...

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Headmaster

Re: Affect - the verb Effect - the noun

Except that affect can be a noun (like affectation) and effect can be a verb (to effect change).

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And what do you call someone who picks -

or in case of unavailability, invents - the best tool for the task at hand with little regard for how 'cool' it might be?

Ah yes. That would be an engineer.

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Re: And what do you call someone who picks -

+1 for insight

But you miss the point of the article. The point of the article was to get the researcher / infographic company some publicity by pigeonholing based on some pretty unimportant attributes. If you want the engineers of this world to be recognised in future in depth studies like this, they need a collective label like 'gineers' or something. We used to use 'hackers' until the press stole it from us...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And what do you call someone who picks -

What's the difference between an applied scientist and an engineer - the engineer can't spell engineer.

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Facepalm

It's exactly the wrong way round.

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Agreed

Geek = tech professional

Nerd = Dwayne Dibley

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Re: Agreed

Dwayne Dibley is most definately not a nerd. He would be a dork and therefore not part of this conversation.

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Anoraks

Nerds wear anoraks and have an unhealthy interest in trains and busses. Geeks don't.

SImple

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why it's obvious now they've done the analysis

because theses predicates are patently true

1) twitter is a medium in which the ability to express concepts in the English language is not at limited in any way

2) a wide and representative cross-section of English language speakers use twitter

Like bollocks are they.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: why it's obvious now they've done the analysis

There was nowhere on the Venn diagram to fit statisticians.

I suspect what we have learned is what arts graduates and journalists consider to be geeks and nerds.

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Windows

Rather than consult one expert,

let's harness the ignorance of thousands, and call it knowledge.

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Mushroom

Re: Rather than consult one expert,

A classic "truthiness" post (sounds clever, but is just plain wrong). The question is one of the use of two words, particularly in popular culture, so the "experts" are indeed, the masses, statistically analysed as here. IMO.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Rather than consult one expert,

But they aren't "the masses". It's like the famous Truman/Dewey election where the newspapers called the result completely wrong because it was based on telephone interviews - and more Republicans had telephones than did Democrats.

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Re: Rather than consult one expert,

just because general population uses "ecological" as "mindful of nature" doesn't change its real, bio-science meaning

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Redundancy

>many geeks are also nerds (and vice versa).

Why "(and vice versa)"? Does that mean you can have a geek who is also a nerd but when he's being a nerd he's not a geek? Oh, (and vice versa).

Or maybe it's a process of transformation, a person who is primarily a geek starts to exhibit symptoms of being a nerd and there is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde phase until the nerd takes over (and vice versa).

Which begs the question, do geeks aspire to be nerds or vice versa.

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Boffin

Re: Redundancy

@Chris W

>many geeks are also nerds (and vice versa).

Why "(and vice versa)"?

If the set of geeks is smaller than the set of nerds, then the intersect set will not be a large proportion of the nerd set, so many geeks could be nerds without many nerds being geeks. For example: 80% of 100 geeks are nerds, but there are 1,000,000 nerds, so the 80 geek nerds are a drop in the nerdy ocean.

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Some equally scientific research ...

.... that I conducted on the bus home the other day, among some Marist College year 10 students (they were chatting with the young lady sitting next to me) reveals that nerds are now cool. If Marist lads think it is so, then it must be so.

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Boffin

Re: Some equally scientific research ...

I'm afraid your scientific reasearch is invalid. Proper scientific research is done in laboratories using data from other studies.

So here's what you need to do.

Write up your study, for the purpose of this example we'll assume that your comment serves and even better it has been published. Put on a white coat. Go into your kitchen and turn on your gas hob, if you don't have gas then light a candle, cigarette lighter or anything with a flame that you can pretend is a bunsen burner. We now have the correct environmnet for performing proper scientific research. Using long words you are not quite sure the correct meaning of write up the findings of numerous studies you have researched, in this case one but what the hell. Submit your paper to a scientific journal for peer approval. In other words repost your comment as true scientific research and wait for us to give our opinion.

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Happy

Re: Some equally scientific research ...

This all sounds very hard. Besides, I can't remember where I put the matches.

Instead, I think I'll just create a new discipline - nerdolinguistics - where I can write whatever balderdash I choose and shout loudly at anyone who disagrees with me

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Some equally scientific research ...

"Instead, I think I'll just create a new discipline - nerdolinguistics - where I can write whatever balderdash I choose and shout loudly at anyone who disagrees with me"

Sorry, Alastair Campbell has copyright on that one.

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WTF?

@ Gray Ham - Re: Some equally scientific research ...

Wrote :- "If Marist lads think it is so, then it must be so"

We are already struggling with what "Nerds" and "Geeks" are, now you bring in "Marist Lads". WTF are they? If they were chatting to a young lady it is obvious they cannot be either. So where are they on the Venn diagram?

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Re: @ Gray Ham - Some equally scientific research ...

Oh thank god - it's not just me swimming in the waters of ignorance over 'Marist Lads'.

And it would be really useful to work out where that splendid British English word - 'boffin' sits on the spectrum.

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From the interweb

geek /gēk/ Noun

An unfashionable or socially inept person.

A person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest: "a computer geek".

nerd /nərd/ Noun

A foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious: "one of those nerds who never asked a girl to dance".

An intelligent, single-minded expert in a particular technical discipline or profession.

So basically he's retelling what the interweb memes already knew (including the fact they are both socially inept). Depending on the subject(s), I'm either a Nerd or a Geek... or sometimes both.

Note that "geek" was originally an old carnie term for the freaks in their show, circa 17th/18th century. This was pre-empted by high-school culture circa 1950s.

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I hate pizza

so I don't fall into either category. Besides, they seem to have ignored the age requirement here. People over 60 who do technical things as a way of life don't call themselves anything. It's only the younger generation who think there is anything unusual about being interested in something.

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Re: I hate pizza

How can you hate pizza? It's one of the godly food groups. Cheese, Bacon, Pizza (wich has cheese and can also have bacon) tea, chocolate, etc etc.

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Re: I hate pizza

In as far as it is possible to say encountering a disembodied name on the internet is meeting someone, you are the first person I've ever met who doesn't like pizza. I didn't think it was even possible. I suppose some people just don't like the taste of delicious.

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Happy

Re: I hate pizza

My father advised me three things with regard to food:

1) never eat anything with tomatoes

2) never eat anything that looks as if it's already been eaten

3) never eat anything bigger than your head

He completely failed to anticipate pizza...

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Re: I hate pizza

How the hell can you hate Pizza? All it is is a hot, open-faced sandwich. Dough base[0], zillions of sauce options, including "none at all", zillions of toppings of choice, including "none at all", any and all cheeses (or none!), any & all herbs & spices (again, or none at all!) ...

Bung it onto a hot stone (500F in a home oven, my outdoor grill can get up to 700F, my outdoor 1875 stone bread oven gets to about 950F) until done. Serve with cold fizzy beverage of choice.

Or better, leftover cold pizza out of the fridge for breakfast with a cup of scalding black coffee ...

[0] Thick, thin, whatever ... I prefer a crust that's a cross between ciabatta and focaccia, tossed to about a quarter of an inch in thickness over most of the pie. I make it as plain old bread about three times per month.

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Re: I hate pizza

I love Bread, Cheese, Bacon, Tomato, peppers, salami. But somehow Pizza spoils them :) There are some decent pizza though.

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Re: I hate pizza

'People over 60 who do technical things as a way of life don't call themselves anything'

+1 to this, Sir. But, as a person of approximately half that age, I don't 'call' myself anything either. I never saw why learning things / reading / having interests required apologist labelling. Honestly, I think the more socially insecure are predisposed to label themselves 'nerd' or 'geek', labouring under the misapprehension that a caveat or disclaimer should be slapped on their forehead for having a personality. Or, <GASP>, being a bit eccentric.

I don't talk about or force my interests on anyone unless they ask my advice, in which case they'll get it. If they don't agree / don't listen, I don't care if I know I'm right.

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Joke

Re: I hate pizza

"As a person of approximately half that age, I don't 'call' myself anything either."

As a person marginally closer to 30 than 60, I call myself Red Bren. What other people call me is another matter...

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Anonymous Coward

current trend

At the moment, it seems to be hip among yoofs to brandish a sort of nerd / geek affectation.

Hell, I even saw a young lady wearing a top at the weekend emblazoned with 'NERD' in minimalist typeface. It's - and I'm gagging to say this - 'fashionable' at the moment. Thick rimmed specs, sultry poses on Facebook in geeky attire. They do really think they are nerds, simply by virtue of the time they spent on Twitt -- OMG DID YOU JUST SEE WHAT DARYL PUT ON FACEBOOK LOL

But it's just that - a trend. Give it another couple or three years, and we'll be back spiritually where we always were - getting picked on for doing our homework.

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